There are clients who feel that they can do no wrong, and there are attorneys who take their clients' word at absolute face value, crucifying the other client as the world's worst parent/spouse. This is not consistent with reality and only leads to obscene legal fees and years of litigation. It wreaks destruction in the family financially and emotionally. One motion begets a response to that motion. And so on and so forth. It takes a strong attorney to stop the insanity. And a stronger client to agree to end the madness. How do you strongly advocate for your client without breaking the bank? It begins with reality testing.
Recently I had a conversation with an attorney who will be representing the husband in one of my divorce cases. This attorney shared with me what he knew and I did the same. We both knew it was going to be rough waters ahead unless we talked realistically - not only about what each of our clients said they wanted but what they really wanted. Many times those are two different things. He then shared with me what he thought his client really wanted, and I did the same for my client. It was a pleasure to talk to someone who realized that our clients are not perfect and blameless; we need to have in-depth discussions with them about the realities of litigation as well as what they are looking for. You have to go deep - what is initially requested is only the tip of the iceberg. Usually when someone asks for the world, they fear that they will receive nothing. Clients also ask for what they think they are supposed to ask for, rather than addressing their real fears and concerns. My goal is to learn not only what my clients want but what they need and what they are most concerned about.